Blog author: jcarter
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
By

ThankYouService“Thank you for your service,” they say, as they shake our hands and pat our backs.

We smile and thank them for their gratitude and try to think of something else to talk about. These encounters with strangers happen from time to time, though always on Veteran’s Day. It’s the one time we can count on civilians—a group from which we came but can never fully return—to think about us.

On Veteran’s Day, they think of the men and women who march in the VFW parades. They think of their grandfathers, the gregarious World War II sailors, eager to share sea stories, and their uncles, stolid Vietnam-era airmen reticent to talk about the war. They think of the aunt who served in the Persian Gulf and the neighbor’s son who recently shipped off to Afghanistan.

They think of us when they see us in airport terminals, young soldiers and marines, giving our teary-eyed parents a welcome-home embrace as we return from recruit training. They think of us when they see us on airport tarmacs, older soldiers and marines, kissing our runny-nosed kids goodbye as we leave for missions of peace-keeping or war-making.

They think of us as we are in the movies: marching off to war with stoic resolve and assaulting beachheads with quiet determination. They think of us aligned on parade grounds, weapons and uniforms sparkling in the sun, postures the very picture of discipline.

They think that military service is about combat and heroism and uncommon acts of valor.

But there are things a veteran knows.
(more…)

Ramatu Usman, whose 6-year-old son is still missing after a Boko Haram attack

Ramatu Usman, whose 6-year-old son is still missing after a Boko Haram attack

Those schoolgirls captured by Boko Haram? Most are still missing. A boys’ school was bombed. Boko Haram says it wasn’t them, but the people don’t believe them.

In Nigeria, for many people, life is about staying one step ahead of Boko Haram, trying to safeguard their children from getting swept up in the claws of this evil entity.

In neighboring Adamawa state, almost 9,500 displaced people now live in a giant camp — one of five for displaced people in the area. They’ve found refuge in what was a youth center outside Yola, the state capital. The buildings are crammed full of residents. Newcomers are being housed in large green tents.

(more…)

Blog author: jcarter
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
By

Russian Orthodox Church calls on U.S. Christians to work together to achieve peace in Ukraine, Middle East
Interfax-religion.com

Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk: “Today Christians of various confessions should unite around the very simple common human values.”

Ukraine Rising
George Weigel, National Review Online

“This is not only about us; this is also about you:” a church leader on his country’s struggle for freedom.

Crime and Corruption Top Problems in Emerging and Developing Countries
Pew Research

A median of 83% of people across 34 emerging and developing economies say crime is a very big problem in their country, and 76% say the same about corrupt political leaders

Two new studies show charter schools can work — if you give them time
Max Ehrenfreund, Washington Post

The argument for charter schools has always been based on the theory that competition is good. When teachers and principals have a chance to try new ideas, the most successful approaches will attract more students.

Blog author: ehilton
Monday, November 10, 2014
By

Photographer Lisa Kristine knows modern slavery intimately. She has spent years entrenched in the reality of slavery around the world, making it quite real for viewers. She says of her work:

No matter how dire, how hard their experience of life has been because of their suffering as a slave, these people still have dignity, sensitivity, humanness and beauty. These images are not intended to be spectacles of horror; they’re intended to engage people in connecting so we realize we’re all brothers and sisters.”

child kiln

Kristine says of this photo of a child in a Nepalese kiln:

So pervasive was the heat and the dust that my camera became too hot to even touch and ceased working. Every 20 minutes, I’d have to run back to our cruiser to clean out my gear and run it under an air conditioner to revive it, and as I sat there, I thought, ‘my camera is getting far better treatment than these people.’”

miners ghana

These are miners in Ghana; many had been underground for 72 hours when Kristine got this shot.

See more of Lisa Kristine’s work here.

 

Blog author: jcarter
Monday, November 10, 2014
By

hip-throwToday marks the 239th birthday of the finest fighting force in the history of the world.

The Marine Corps Birthday makes me nostalgic for the good ol’ days of . . . well, okay, maybe good is too strong a word. In fact, I can’t say that I miss being on active duty (15 years was more than enough). But I do miss being with my fellow Marines.

To give you an idea of what the life of a Marine is like (and why I don’t miss it), here is a blog entry I wrote in 2004 that outlines a typical day in the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program:
(more…)

chefabbotCities across America – from Pensacola, Florida to Honolulu, Hawaii — have increasingly taken strong measures to discourage the homeless from making a home within their city limits. So it didn’t seem surprising when the media ran with a story last week about two pastors and a 90-year-old homeless advocate “Charged With Feeding Homeless.” As the AP reported,

To Arnold Abbott, feeding the homeless in a public park in South Florida was an act of charity. To the city of Fort Lauderdale, the 90-year-old man in white chef’s apron serving up gourmet-styled meals was committing a crime.

For more than two decades, the man many call “Chef Arnold” has proudly fired up his ovens to serve up four-course meals for the downtrodden who wander the palm tree-lined beaches and parks of this sunny tourist destination.

Now a face-off over a new ordinance restricting public feedings of the homeless has pitted Abbott and others with compassionate aims against some officials, residents and businesses who say the growing homeless population has overrun local parks and that public spaces merit greater oversight.

The story certainly sounds like an outrageous restriction on charity. But did the media get the story right?
(more…)

Throughout Western developed nations, there is dawning recognition that robust protections for religious liberty can no longer be taken for granted. Less understood are the ways in which infringements of other political, civil and commercial forms of freedom can subtly undermine religious liberty. Businesses and other institutions of civil society now need to consider how the restrictions of religious freedom by governments throughout the Western world is likely to affect them.

Today the Acton Institute, in conjunction with the School of Business and Economics at the Catholic University of America, will hold a conference from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. in Washington titled, “The Relationship between Religious & Economic Liberty in an Age of Expanding Government.” The event brings together leading clergy and scholars—theologians, philosophers, economists—to discuss this increasingly important issue, and the manner in which is affecting institutions ranging from business to church organizations.

If you’re in Grand Rapids, you can watch the event live in the Acton auditorium at 98 E. Fulton St. Details here. Or watch the live web stream beginning at noon on the video player after the page break. (more…)

babies for sale“How am I supposed to get a baby?”

There are many people who cannot get pregnant and have a child. Some are infertile. Some are single and have no one that wishes to parent with them. Gay couples cannot naturally have children. So how are these folks supposed to get the baby that they want?

This is the question Alana S. Newman was faced with while speaking at the Bonds that Matter conference. It’s not the first time Newman has dealt with the idea that children are possessions to be had, and that relationships are irrelevant. A child’s needs are irrelevant also.

Newman is herself the product of donor insemination. She never knew her father, but did know a succession of men that she was supposed to accept as her father. (more…)

Blog author: jcarter
Monday, November 10, 2014
By

Fishwrap’s Michael Sean Winters ATTACKS!
Fr. John Zuhlsdorf, Fr Z’s Blog

Michael Sean Winters specializes in irrational demonizing of those with whom he disagrees. His present instance of high dudgeon is aimed at Catholic University of America. What is CUA’s sin? CUA has dared to host a conference in which speakers associated with Acton Institute are to be involved!

Metro Detroit’s Chaldeans expand services for refugees
Ursula Watson, Detroit News

Metro Detroit is seeing an increase in immigration due to the turmoil in the Middle East, straining community services.

Supreme Court to hear Obamacare subsidies case
Lawrence Hurley, Reuters

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed on Friday to hear a legal challenge to a key part of the Obamacare health law that, if successful, would limit the availability of federal health insurance subsidies for millions of Americans.

A Christian Tightrope Walker?
David Murray, Head Heart Hand

Can you be a “Christian Tightrope Walker.” Is tightrope-walking a legitimate Christian vocation? Does repeatedly mentioning God sanctify whatever job we do?

European workers and trade union reps protest in Brussels

Things really aren’t looking good across the pond.  Acton’s Director of Research, Samuel Gregg, has written quite a bit about the decline in Europe. His latest ‘Meanwhile, Europe is (Still) Burning’ in the American Spectator, discusses the inability or unwillingness of European governments to respond to economic trouble.

Two of the world’s large economies, France and Italy, are examples of this. In France, workforce unemployment is 11 percent, the government has engaged in possibly illegal activity by hiding the fact that it hasn’t cut its fiscal deficits, and it won’t actually get around to making these cuts until 2017. The situation in Italy is even worse: unemployment is at 12.6 percent, youth unemployment is at 42.9 percent, and the country is ranked as one of the worst in the world in terms of “labor market efficiency.”

Despite these problems, necessary changes are not being made:

Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is the latest Italian head of government to propose some marginal labor-market reforms. Alas, he too has discovered that Italy’s unions are essentially opposed to anything except the status quo. That’s why an estimated 1 million Italians marched in the streets on October 25, claiming that “fundamental rights” (which evidently don’t extend to Italians below 30) were being endangered.

(more…)